Mexico. Election governor of Mexico's most populous
state, Estado de México, on June 4 became a major success
for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) when the
party's candidate Alfredo del Mazo Maza won over his closest
rival Delfina Gómez from the National Renewal Movement
(Morena). According to
Countryaah.com, the victory margin was small - del Mazo received
34% of the votes cast against 31% for Gómez - but the
victory was an important indication for PRI ahead of the
2018 presidential election, not least given that the state
has 13% of the country's electoral votes. Even in Coahuila's
governorship election, the party won but by an equal margin,
and despite the victories, the election results in the two
states, traditionally two of the most important attachments
of the PRI, marked a weakening. PRI's success was mainly due
to a deep divide among the opposition parties, especially
within the largest.
The party was also persecuted by corruption scandals. Two
former governors were arrested abroad during the year on
suspicion of corruption and allegedly extradited to Mexico.
The so-called Odebrecht scandal - a major corruption legacy
surrounding a Brazilian construction company that has been
paving the way in several Latin American countries - also
reached Mexico during the year. However, the special
investigator who was appointed to investigate the case was
dismissed by the prosecutor in October with formalities as a
reason, but the opposition criticized the decision as part
of a darkening campaign by the government.
Several prison riots occurred during the year, the most
serious in the Cadere area of Nuevo León in the northeast
where 17 prisoners were killed in early October. The riots
started as a protest against the notoriously inhumane living
conditions in the prisons, but gang crime was also involved.
Among other things, the prison chief was accused of
conspiring with the crime syndicate Los Zetas.
Relations with the United States were characterized by
the incoming President Donald Trump's aggressive demeanor
against Mexico. In June, the House of Representatives
presented the disputed project to build a wall along the
border with planned construction in March or April 2018.
Trump's demand for Mexico to cover costs was categorically
rejected and not unexpectedly by President Enrique Peña
Nieto, and funding for the project remained unclear. The
NAFTA Free Trade Agreement between the United States, Canada
and Mexico has also been criticized by Trump as a major
failure and a loss business for the United States, and he
periodically talked about resigning completely. In August,
however, talks began in Washington on a renegotiation of the
agreement. The stated purpose was to arrive at a result at
the end of the year or at the beginning of 2018.
Southern Mexico was hit by two major earthquakes on
September 7 and 19, of which the latter was the most
devastating. The epicenter was located 55 kilometers south
of the city of Puebla and was felt throughout central
Mexico, including the capital Mexico City where several
buildings collapsed. A total of 370 people were killed and
more than 6,000 were injured. Ironically, the earthquake
occurred on the anniversary of the fatal earthquake in 1985
and many people had earlier in the day participated in
exercises that have been held since September 19.